Hurricane Sandy Relief
First and formost, I would like to thank Matt (my brother) for organizing this whole thing. Without Matt, this would not have been possible and we would never have had this happen. THANK YOU MATT!!!!
Yesterday (Sunday November 4) I got to be a part of probably one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. After Hurricane Sandy, as we all know there is billions of dollars in damage and many people who need supplies and help. Trying to figure out what could be done, Matt posted a post at The Bass Barn fishing forums (www.thebassbarn.com), asking how we could help and if anyone knew of someone in need. A few people got back to us with some ideas and places to go, but a man named Doug contacted us and said he had a few places to go to where we could help. Matt organized and rounded up a total of 3 pickup trucks filled with pumps, generators, shovels, tools, grills, gas, food and 11 people willing to help. On top of the tools we would be using to help people, we also brought clothes, food, water and most anything people could think of which we took to Jersey Coast Tackle (www.jerseytackle.com) for donation to all people who were hit by Sandy.
After meeting Doug around 7:30 in the morning, he took us to an area that had some houses in need of having the crawl spaces pumped. We pumped out the crawl spaces, removed wet furniture and cut out carpeting and put it curbside to be picked up later.
By about 10 we were moving on to the next neighborhood in need. Driving around and literally just askingpeople if they needed help, we eventually ran across a single lady who had recently gone through a divorce. Her house had been flooded and she really needed the help. Upon asking if she needed help, she just broke down in tears and said yes. All 12 of us, including Doug emptied her garage and house of all its appliances, furniture, carpeting and anything that was wet and determined to be garbage. We also had to pump out her crawl space, pressure washed the mud out of her garage and even removed parts of a house that washed up in the back of her house.
She was 1.5 miles away from where the Mantoloking bridge now goes into the water since a new inlet has been cut by the storm. See the before and after picture of the Mantoloking area below (Courtesy of www.nj.com). (Scroll mouse over picture to see before and after shots)(Mobile users: Tap on left side of picture for after picture. To return to before picture, tap right side of picture!)
Since we brought a grill, 90 some burgers and 50 some hot dogs, we grilled for anyone in the neighborhood who wanted to eat! The people in the neighborhood were delighted and many people came to eat.
After clearing out a majority of her house, we asked others in the neighborhood if they needed help. A few others took us up on the offer and we cleaned out their garages, appliances, furniture, etc. The family who originally owned all the property on the road we were helping on has been there since 1942 and a couple people helped move out their things as well. After helping them move their stuff out, they broke down crying and offered us money for our help…which we didn’t’ take. They chased after us trying to give us money. All we would accept from them were hugs and that seemed to make them equally as happy.
It felt great as people started coming up to us and asking who we were and what volunteer organization we were with since the word was starting to get around that people from Pennsylvania were in the area to help. When they found out we were not part of any organization and we did it out of the kindness of our hearts, they seemed shocked. We had people tell us that we were “heaven sent”, we “grew our wings and were going straight to heaven” and others even told us that because we were there, it has restored their faith in humanity.
For us as a group, it couldn’t have went any better, we touched the lives of a few people and made an impact on their lives I’m sure they will never forget. It was quite a rewarding experience to see the happiness on these peoples faces as we came in to help out and give them food, water, supplies, etc.
We are thinking of organizing another trip to NJ to help out once again. Right now it is in the very preliminary stages we are thinking the trip would be sometime between December and March. The thought would be to help out people, marina’s, shops, etc. who may have damage that needs to be repaired and insurance won’t cover or helping people who had no insurance. After being there and talking to many people, we learned that a shocking amount of people didn’t have insurance on their properties.
If you would be interested in lending a helping hand and donating your time, please email or call me, matt, rich or anyone in the Maximum Gusto crew and let us know. You could also post a comment in the comments and give us a way to get a hold of you. If you know of anyone who needs help, let us know and we will see what we can organize and do to help out!